‘If you’re good enough, you’re old enough’

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IT is with bated breath, anticipation and optimism that we await the kick-off of the Vodacom competition this evening.
Well done to those who have made it possible. It is, however, unfortunate that we have to “sponsor” the other teams with lodging, but on the other hand, as my friend Naas Botha fondly says, we are investing in the future of local younger players. It is about time.

A lot is being made of the players just out of school and our Under-20 boys playing rugby up a notch or two. If you’re good enough, you’re old enough, as my other friend Gordon Tietjens philosophises.

Selection

First, there were 55 trimmed to 32 and now the final selection of 22. Coach Henry Kemp is 100 percent correct when he says here is talent in abundance while he also makes it crystal clear that this is not a closed chapter with other players still in contention for a Vodacom berth.
A good thing? Only time will tell but nevertheless, the fact that they were selected from the pool of homegrown club players sends out the correct signal of trust, not only in the player, but club coaches and their structures that have thankless jobs.

Now it is up us to nurture these younger guys and prepare them for the next level. It is also time for these players to repay that trust with hard work, dedication and purposefulness to achieve those little goals, as set out in the 80-minute game.

The old guard pushing up the average of our team will have their work cut out. This includes on the field nurturing, protection, guidance and, above all, enforcing the culture and ethos which brought us to consecutive Rugby World Cup participation.

I choose to ignore the comment in an Afrikaans daily that says the selection was out of necessity. Players do not select themselves. If that was the objective in the first place, what the hell is the problem then?

A speedy recovery to those nursing battle scars.

Sponsors and Fundraising

These two words must feature the most in clubs meetings and minutes thereof! Any athlete and, by extension, any club or controlling body, is grateful for the inflow of much-needed assistance or financial aid.

However, we must not appear hat in hand, though not ungrateful. Too many a time the “sponsor” is so prescriptive that any other considerations fly out the window, be it own policies, constitutional rights or economic restraints. Continuously asking government for bailouts is also not the ultimate solution.

We comfortably forget government bailing various sport codes out of some mess of their own doing could be very dangerous. Do the Maths and be thankful. Why do we have an acronym in front of Welwitschias, is this not our national team?

How about calling it a Board Team when playing against other non-test playing nations? And please do not play our national anthem, as this is not a test! Kudos to West Coast Sharks that started their league campaign with a worthy fundraising effort. I am aware that clubs put in a lot of effort in securing some funding and assistance – it is never enough, but good luck!

Regional
Competitions

In years gone by, we had the so-called Sub-Union structures and this is where the gulf between club rugby and senior national rugby was identified. This can also serve to instil pride and a sense of belonging in our regions. Snap proposal:

Khomas (previously known as Central)
Including Omaheke Region, with Central divided into East and West Central
Hardap (previously known as South)
//Kharas
Erongo (previously known as Coast)
Including Kunene and Otjozondjupa.

Oshikoto
Including Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena, Kavango and Zambezi

Club Sub Union, Namibia-A or Board Team and then full Senior. Maybe our men in blue suits in Lichtenstein Strasse will consider these options. But then again, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough!!

In conclusion, let us all go out and support our team tonight. We must also tick the right boxes afterwards, be it player, sponsor, supporter, administrator and critic alike.
Good Luck Boys!

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